MAY 1997

A newsletter for alumni, students, and friends of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

'Dreams by Design' Became Reality for Engineering Expo '97

Mechanical Engineering students and staff were key players in a bigger-than-ever Engineering EXPO '97, "Dreams by Design," held April 18-20 on the engineering campus.
Robot Triathlon Team

The Pi Tau Sigma robot team "Wolf Pack" won first place in the People's Choice Best of Show category. Jim Olson, Dustin Kaap, and Rodger Premeau attach one of two covers to their remote control robot. (28K JPG)

The Robot Triathlon had grown so large that it was held in the UW Field House to showcase teams who coaxed their creations through a "maze of confusion," an obstacle course, and a "Robo Ball" soccer match. Each robot was also judged on its design and aesthetics for a cash prize. A new course offering, ME 491, taught by Professors Robert D. Lorenz, Nicola J. Ferrier, and Neil A. Duffie, helped more than 20 teams of robot enthusiasts design and construct their entries. They were among more than 38 teams competing for $15,000 in prize money. Team members included not only undergraduate and grad UW students but also a 10 year-old boy, high school students, and members of the public.

Participation in the ME robotics class paid off for the participants: class teams took five out of the first six place winning slots in the obstacle course, four of the six placements in Robo Ball, and three places in the Maze. Winning first place in the Best of Show (People's Choice) category was the Pi Tau Sigma team of Rodger Premeau, Dustin Kaap, Vicki Bassett, Jim Olson, Joseph Frost, Jerome Lim, and Laura Jenson. The ASME team of Leon Baumann, Kurt Kissinger, Dave Hwang, Wendy Staats, Tom Anderson, and Jason Fuhr took third place in this category.

Another feature of Expo was a Lego playland and a Lego scale model of the engineering campus set up in the Mechanical Engineering building lobby.
Robot enters obstacle course

ASME team robot enters obstacle course in Robot Triathlon at Expo '97 (35K JPG)

The biennial, non-profit, student-run Expo included over 90 exhibits by students, government, and industry, including Ford, IBM, and John Deere Corporation, to showcase recent developments in engineering and technology. ME Guy Babbitt won a second place award in the graduate student exhibit category for his powertrain simulation program for racing and also a second place in the small groups category for a display on the making of whitewater kayaks. First place in the small group exhibits was won by ME seniors who showed a hydraulic clutch activation system for handicapped drivers. Members were Wade Congdon, Michael Sloan, Ed Suh, and Derek Coffman. ME senior Andreas Ostenso took third place in the individual exhibits for his display on back pain prevention through ultrasonics.

Grade school through high school students were encouraged to come to the first day of Expo to learn about engineering and to try it themselves in the egg toss. Students were challenged to create egg-protecting containers and then throw their eggs over a volleyball net onto a target without breaking the egg.

ME junior Scott McKenzie was chair of the Expo finance committee that worked months in advance to attract corporate sponsors for funding and to bring displays of equipment and technology to exhibit. ME Andrew Bouthilet, a junior, served as publicity chair, and Dave Waters, an ME senior, was sales and promotions chair.

ME Newsletter is a periodic publication of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Correspondence should be sent to the address below.

ME Newsletter
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1513 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706-1572

      Editor: Gail Gawenda

Designer: Lynda Litzkow

Last Modified: Tuesday, 14-Oct-1997 14:22:16 CDT

MAY 1997 Contents